Saturday, May 29, 2010


Life is full of surprised no matter how old you get…not that I’m that old mind you. When my kids erupted in screams I dashed out of the house to find out what all the excitement was about.


I can’t say that I even knew of them, let alone seen one before. Though we use to have hot air balloons fly over our house all the time, never did we have a 3D one.

What will they think of next?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I belong to ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Amongst other wonderful benefits, you can join an email loop. This is where you can ask other ACFW members questions, post comments regarding writing, or information others might find helpful.

One of today’s subjects: OH, WE SEAT-OF-THE-PANTSERS!

Though I don’t read all the emails, for there are many, this subject title caught my eye. I’ve been a seat-of-the-pants writer, though I’m a little more then surprised that I am. Because of that, along with recent struggles with my writing, I decided to take a step back and look at my approach. What I thought I’d discovered…I should become an “outliner”.

After wrestling with this new found idea for some time, I decided to use the SNOWFLAKE PRO I’d recently purchased as a recommendation from an ACFW member. The program is amazing and I truly got a lot from it. It forced me to really think intensely regarding my characters, and not just my main characters but the secondary ones as well. It also forced me to pinpoint my characters goals, and struggles.

I took several weeks plugging information for my new story into the SHOWFLAKE PRO. Once I was done, I was excited to finally be able to start writing. So I start to write, and what do I do…Not really use the SNOWFLAKE PRO in its full capacity, what it was meant for but to type with excitement in full force like my true self…a-seat-of-the–pantser!

Oh well, so much for that. I’ll still use the SNOWFLAKE PRO for it did help me get to know my characters and a bit more of the story then I normally would have at the start of a new novel.

Now on to the point. It was very refreshing to hear of the others on the ACFW loop, published and unpublished authors that are “seat-of-the–pantsers” as well. And even those that are a bit of both, which I feel I’m learning towards with now using the SNOWFLAKE PRO, yet still winging it most of the way.

This is what one author wrote. I just loved it! It’s my kind of outline!

NOW, THERE'S A CLASS I COULD TEACH! "Completing an ENTIRE Manuscript by the Seat of Your Pants!" AKA: "A Twelve-Step Program for Pantsers!"

Major points would go as follows:

2. Oh, this is good!
3. "Who are you, Mr. Character? I didn't invite you."
4. I'm getting a bit stuck. Yow! I best go for a walk and have a talk with Jesus about this.
5. Okay, I'm back on track. (I wonder if I've reached the halfway mark yet. Hmm.)
6. Help! This isn't coming together. This stinks. I am the worst writer in the ENTIRE world!
7. Another walk and talk with God.
8. HE is giving me confidence and ideas I never saw coming!
9. Is this book EVER going to end?
10. Thank you for that wonderful idea, Lord.
11. We're getting there! Ah, I can feel, smell, and taste the ending. (If only my hubby would stop asking, "How's it coming? How many more days?)
12. THE END. (Thank you, Jesus!) Here's where I "take off my pants" and jump into my favorite part: EDITING!

From Shar MacLaren
Writing romance for the heart...fiction for the soul...

The Snowflake Pro, by Randy Ingermanson

ACFW, American Fiction Christian Writers

Friday, May 21, 2010


I just had to share this video with all you writers out there, whether published or not published. Though I have yet to have a novel published, I’ve heard of this scenario more then once. It can be a sad reality of the publishing world for many of us. Right now, I can only dream of one day being in this situation for that would mean that I had accomplished my goal of having a book published.

But that’s what I say now. I’m sure when the time comes, and I do feel from the dept of my soul that one day it will, I’ll feel differently when it’s I who sits and taps my pen awaiting the dream of an endless line of admiring fans.

Would that be so bad? I must say I would rather go through what Parnell Hall went through rather then never reached my dream of holding my own book in my hand. For no power, or fame, or money could ever replace that feeling.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Only days before Lee DeWyze was scheduled to be in Illinois, I was set upon a rollercoaster ride so it seemed. Thanks to posting a comment on Capannari’s Ice Cream facebook page, I received an offer for three tickets to the Lee DeWyze concert at Arlington Park. Only problem was I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go. My oldest daughter, whom would have loved to go, had a play that night. I was supposed to go to an ACFW Northwest Chapter meeting.

I asked my two youngest daughters if they’d be interest in going to the concert, and of course they were. Unfortunately, I didn’t get word back to the woman who’d offered me the tickets in time, and she gave them away.

I truly believe it what’s meant to be, is meant to be. Now if I’d been really set on going, I would have worked harder to have made it happen. But it just so happens that for whatever reason, God wanted me to be there. A friend that I know through the Prison Ministry at my church offered me tickets, once again through facebook.

The only problem…there were only two tickets!

Now I needed to confront my nine-year-old to see if she’d be okay with her younger sister and I going. Though my nine-year-old watches American Idol, she wasn’t really into it like her younger sister and I. Besides, she was getting another blessing we were going to be soon revealing. Her very own dog! One that we were fostering for Collie Rescue.

It was tough but after much thought, and many talks, in the end my daughter and I went. We quickly made our way to where we thought was a good spot; just to later discover it wasn’t a good place after all. When a man in a suit made his way along the tracks in front of us, handing out tickets for something, my heart began to race. But he passed us bye and we'd seemingly lost our chance.

God had other plans. The same man came back, passed us once again, and then headed back toward us. This time I wasn’t about to miss out when we were so close, not once but several times. I waved him down with what I expect was a PLEASE written on my face. He stopped…and handed me tickets!

We were on our way.

We followed others in hopes of discovering where we were to go.

We descended the concrete steps, making our way down to the front when we were suddenly stopped by a closing gate. “Sorry, you’ll have to stay here. We have too many down below”. Darn, we’d almost made it…but that’s okay. We were grateful for the better seats God just provided us with. And graciously accepted our fate.

But God wasn’t done. Minutes later, the gate opened and we were allowed to go down closer! We had a wonderful time, and I feel so blessed to have been part of what may have been a once in a life time event.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


This past April marked the second time in my life I fasted. The first being the previous year. Though I’d obviously heard about others fasting in my adult life over the years, it was never something that interested me beyond the wonder of why someone would what to do such a thing. Frankly, I was glad it was not my “religion” to do so.

In 2008 my church challenged the congregation to fast for five days. Their reason was so we could identify with those that are hungry in Africa. Well, that certainly wasn’t for me. After all, I had three young children and a husband to feed, and a busy life to live. There was no way fasting could possible fit in.

In 2009 our church once again asked those of us in the congregation to join them in fasting. What the pastor said this time hit home…

“If you’re not going to do it, you need to ask yourself why?”

Of course I could come up all the excuses why not too…but when I thought about it, they were exactly that. Excuses! Did those in Africa have the opportunity for excuses not too?

In 2009 I started my first ever fasting. The challenge…only water, a cup of oat meal in the morning, and a cup of beans and rice for lunch, and then again for dinner. My twelve-year-old daughter decided she’d take the challenge as well.

In the beginning it was more of a challenge to remember NOT to eat in-between meals. Habit, habit, habit. As time went on the hunger set in. I was getting in the habit of not being able to eat between meals but now my stomach was letting me know I was eating much less then I was use to. Every time I felt those hunger pains, I thought of those in Africa.

By the end of the week my energy level was low, my hunger pains constant. At least I didn’t have to work. Though I still needed to maintain life, at least I didn’t have a job I had to deal with on such low energy. I once again thought of the children in Africa. They have to walk miles in the heat, often with no shoes, carrying heavy containers on their heads filled with water!

In the end, my daughter and I made it through the challenge. I was so proud of her. As it was she doesn’t like oatmeal or beans so she’d only ate rice the entire time, all the while maintaining school and her activities.

The following year in 2010 our church once again challenged us to fast for five days. This time without hesitation I knew I was in. There would be no more excuse for me. The first time was an experience all unto itself. There will never be a first experience, again but the second time had its own uniqueness. In ways it was easier, and in others harder.

For me, it was a challenge that left me forever changed. I learned of strength and perseverance within myself, as much as the many blessings I have in the very basics of life.

God is good!